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UN Emergency Session: Egypt, Mauritania invoke Resolution 377

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Picture: Patrick Gruban / via Wikimedia Commons – United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City. After the US vetoed a majority of 13 decision in the 15-member state UN Security Council with a UK abstention, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres vowed he “would not give up”.

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The UN General Assembly has announced that it will hold an emergency special session on Tuesday to discuss the critical situation in the Gaza Strip.

This follows a formal request by Egypt and Mauritania, invoking the UN’s significant Resolution 377, known as ‘Uniting for Peace’.

In a letter to the President of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis, the two countries, in their respective capacities as Chair of the Arab Group and Organisation of Islamic Conference Group at the UN, said it was “urgent that the General Assembly convene to address this crisis, in accordance with resolution 377 (V) (1950), ‘Uniting for Peace’ as rapidly as possible”.

The letter stated that “in the absence of a ceasefire and in light of the ongoing grave breaches of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and violations of the relevant United Nations resolutions, … the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the Gaza Strip, has continued to dramatically deteriorate”.

The request follows the veto on Friday by the United States that blocked a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Resolution 377 empowers the General Assembly to act in any cases where the Security Council, because of a lack of unanimity among its five permanent members, fails to uphold its responsibility to maintain international security and peace.

The letter stressed that “Israel, the occupying Power, persists in its military aggression and siege against the Palestinian civilian population, killing and wounding thousands more Palestinian children, women and men”.

The letter added that Israel’s aggression has forcibly displaced more than 1.9 million people, “undermining the access and ability of humanitarian agencies, including UNRWA, to deliver on their mandates, and impeding desperately needed humanitarian assistance”.

This situation, it added, “is endangering more civilian lives, risking further deterioration of this already-catastrophic situation, and threatening regional and international peace and security”.

Francis acknowledged the request and announced that he would convene the 45th plenary meeting of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, December 12.

Prior to Friday’s vote, UN Secretary-General (SG), António Guterres, invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, to signal to the Security Council that “a humanitarian nightmare is engulfing the people of Gaza”.

This special power granted to the SG was last used over half a century ago.

The US vetoed the UN resolution which was co-sponsored by nearly 100 UN member states. The vote in the 15-member council received the support of 13 states, with the United Kingdom abstaining.

Guterres expressed his regret at the outcome of the vote and promised he “will not give up”.

Picture: Li Muzi / Xinhua / Taken September 18, 2019 – According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 17,997 Palestinians have been killed and 49,229 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7, the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children. Speaking after the US veto, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres vowed he “would not give up”.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 17,997 Palestinians have been killed and 49,229 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

This article was first published on The Palestine Chronicle